Dorotheos2As I said, if we have true love, that very love would cover all sins, as did the saints when they saw the shortcomings of men.

Were they blind and did not see sins? And who hated sin more than the saints?

But they did not hate the sinners all the same time, nor condemn them, nor turn away from them, but they suffered with them, admonished them, comforted them, gave them remedies as sickly members, and did all they could to save them.

Take a fisherman: when he casts his hook into the sea and a large fish takes the bait, he perceives first that the fish struggles violently and is full of fight, so he does not try to pull it in immediately by main force for the line would break and the catch would be lost in the end.

No, he rather plays out the line and, as he says, allows the fish to run freely, but when he feels the line slacken and the first struggles have calmed down, he takes up the slack line and begins, little by little, to draw him in.

So the holy fathers, by patience and love, draw the brother and do not spurn him nor become disgusted with him.

As a mother who has an unruly son does not hate him or turn away from him but adorns him with love, and everything she does, she does for his consolation; so do the saints always cover, adorn and help the sinner, so that with time he will correct himself, and not harm anyone else, and in doing so they themselves greatly advance towards the love of Christ.

What did the blessed Ammon do when those brothers, greatly disturbed, came to him and said, “Come and see, Father, There is a young woman in Brother X’s cell.”

What great love there was in that great soul. Knowing that the brother had hidden the woman in a large barrel, he went in sat down on it, and told the others to search the whole place.

And when they found nothing he said to them, “May God forgive you!” And thus did he put them to shame, edify them and bring them great benefit by teaching them not to readily believe accusations against their neighbor.

By his consideration for his brother he not only covered him after God but corrected him when the right moment came.

Having thrown the others out, he took his hand and said, “Take a thought for you soul, brother.” Immediately the brother was ashamed and came to compunction, so swiftly did the love and compassion of the elder work upon his soul.

Dorotheos of Gaza (505-565 or 620): Conference 6 – That We Should Not Judge Our Neighbour @ Pravoslavie.

Advertisements